We are living in a world where technology is everywhere and whilst there are countless benefits to technological advances, it’s crucial to be able to use this technology safely and effectively.
To help build your understanding of technology literacy, this article will answer two key questions: what it is and why it is important. And by providing some technology literacy examples, you’ll be ready to prepare students to succeed in a technology-rich world.
What is Technology Literacy?
Technology literacy is the ability to use, understand, manage, and analyze technology safely, effectively, and responsibly. This literacy includes using technology to evaluate, create and integrate information.
While technology literacy is relevant to computers, smartphones and tablets, technology literacy isn’t limited to such devices; it can be applied to any technological device. This article will discuss technology literacy in reference to digital technologies.
Why is Technology Literacy Important:
What was once a luxury is now a common and readily accessible tool in every corner of our lives – including education. Students all over the world can be found learning on interactive whiteboards, virtual reality technology is providing children with unique learning experiences and social robots are entering classrooms to support learners with additional needs.
Since technology plays an increasing role in our lives, we must make sure that we are navigating technology in a manner that helps rather than hinders us. Sadly, this is easier said than done. Despite the numerous benefits, there are many drawbacks to using technology. And so, technological literacy shows us how to get the most out of our technology while avoiding pitfalls.
The Essential Elements of Technology Literacy:
Now, let’s chat about the essential elements of technology literacy for students in the 21st century.
- Critical Thinking – Just as crucial as traditional reading and writing literacy, we should be able to comprehend what we are reading and viewing with tech. Critically-thinking students know how to evaluate information and as a result can properly source and consume quality digital content. This means that students can critically analyse information to determine accuracy, validity, reliability and authority of information.
- Communication – It is also vital that students learn the fundamentals of internet safety. For example, creating strong passwords, understanding privacy settings, and having a firm grasp on what should or should not be shared online. Tech literate individuals will have the ability to communicate safety and securely online. Actively using technology doesn’t just involve consuming information – it also involves making your own content and sharing it with others too.
- Problem-Solving Skills – Students must understand how technological skills can be utilized to solve real-world problems. For instance, when presented with a problem or challenge, students should consider a technological solution and then use a form of technology to accomplish their goal. Technology is here to help – students should take advantage of these tools to achieve a solution.
- Application Basics – When becoming technologically literate, students must grasp a basic understanding of standard digital tools and be able to determine which tools are suitable for a given task. As many tasks will require the use multiple devices or platforms, it is vital that students develop cross-application dependency. This means that students should be able to understand how multiple applications can work together to complete a single task.
- Adapting – Now, I’m sure that you are well aware of the speed that technology can change. These changes come hand in hand with societal and classroom improvements and benefits. However, new applications and forms of technology also provide us with a lot of new learning. And so, tech literate individuals should be able to adapt and pick up new skills to navigate evolving technology – whether it’s a new tablet model, online platform or even a new classroom robot!
With essential technology literacy skills, students and educators alike can adapt to changes in technology with ease.
Need help teaching essential elements of technology literacy? Marty the Robot (the walking, dancing, eyebrow-wiggling humanoid robot) will introduce valuable problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Sign up for your free 2-week trial today!